Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Broadband as a Digital Divide Solution

Since I won't be able to be in class this week to present these materials, I'll do it electronically! I've put together some recent news on the possibilities of broadband as a solution to online inequalities.

I find the contrast between the US plan to put $7.2 billion of stimulus money towards this project, and the Korean experience of focusing on the social elements of the digital divide most interesting. Which comes first, the infrastructure, or the education? Also, it raises questions about whether the goal is really access for all, or improved access for some, or merely job creation.

But, the Australian example is probably more directly comparable, as the government is proposing a detailed plan by which it will create the high-speed infrastructure and turn it over to private interests within 15 years.

Finally, if anyone has strong feelings about the US broadband plan, you have just under 60 days to file a public comment with the FCC!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Liz. I thought that the following was worth highlighting from "US Drawing Up National Broadband Plan": "One crucial question to be decided is speed...Median US broadband speeds are less than 5.0 megabits per second (Mbps)...The FCC presently defines broadband as 786 Kbps -- too slow for efficient video streaming, for example -- and the ITIF and other groups are seeking target speeds of between 10 Mbps and 50 Mbps."

    How likely is it that the definition of 'broadband' will change?